Category Archives: Before You Move Tips
Moving can be a tough process, no matter if you’re moving out for the first time or settling into your “forever” home. We’ve compiled our top insider tips and tricks to create a stress-free move experience. Read more below!
Whether you are moving across the country or just a few blocks away, moving can be a stressful process. We’ve compiled some of the best packing hacks and moving tips from seasoned pros that will save time, headaches, space and potential damage to your belongings. Read more below!
Your Moving Insurance Options
Any idea how much will your mover is required to reimburse you if they break your flat screen TV during your move? $20.
Yep, that’s right. Just $20. The standard liability coverage your mover offers you is based on the weight of your items; not their monetary value. Your mover is only required to compensate you for $0.60 per pound, so for a 46″ flat screen TV, that could be as little as $20.
Particularly if you have precious belongings and/or are moving long-distance, consider investing in supplemental move insurance. First, check with your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance provider to see if you’ll be covered under your existing policy. If not, consider one of the following options.
Mover-Provided Coverage - Released Value Protection
- This type of coverage MUST be included in your mover’s quote and offered at no additional charge
- In the event of loss or damage, your mover will reimburse you for $0.60 per pound. So if they damage a 5 lb stereo speaker, you would be reimbursed $3.
- Boxes you pack yourself are not covered
- You must sign a statement on your Bill of Lading to agree to this type of coverage
Mover-Provided Coverage – Full Value Protection
- This coverage is offered by your mover at an additional charge
- The cost may vary according to your mover and may have different deductible levels impacting your possible premium rates
- In the event of loss or damage, your mover will repair, replace or reimburse you for the item.
- Your mover will not cover “high value” items unless specifically detailed by you prior to the move (e.g. jewelry or china)
- In most cases, boxes you pack yourself are not covered
3rd Party Moving Insurance or Protection
- Your mover may recommend a 3rd party for Released Value coverage, or you may choose one on your own
- You make this purchase yourself and not through your mover
- We recommend our partner, MoveProtection.com, which offers affordable premiums for some of the most comprehensive coverage on the market. Unlike most insurance companies, MoveProtection.com also covers boxes you pack yourself.
Learn more about all of these options at ProtectYourMove.gov.
Relocating to another state is no easy feat. To help make your transition as smooth as possible, we’ve broken down the top 10 tips you should know when moving cross-country.
1. Plan Ahead
Good movers’ calendars fill up fast, especially during heavy move season (June through August). To reserve the mover of your choice and save yourself from last-minute headaches, start planning for your move at least six weeks in advance.
It’s crucial that you hire a licensed, reliable mover when trusting them with your stuff across state lines. Check the following credentials when researching possible movers:
- USDOT License: Movers that cross state lines are required by the Department of Transportation to have a USDOT license. You can easily find a mover’s USDOT number on their MCR listing (shown below), website or on the written estimate they provide you. Always make sure the USDOT number is accurate and up to date at Safersys.org.
- Reviews: Read reviews on MCR to learn about other customers’ experiences with the movers you’re considering. All of our reviews are verified, so you can trust that they came from a real consumer for a real move. Look for review referencing interstate moves in particular so you know what to expect in terms of timeliness, communication and professionalism.
- Rating and Complaints: Finish up your investigation by sizing up a mover’s complaint history. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Better Business Bureau are both great resources to check on a company’s history with consumer complaints.
3. Know Your Options
Request quotes from at least 3 qualified movers; keeping in mind the cheapest option may not always be the best. Be aware of any hidden charges and the type of estimate offered. Non-binding estimates factor the weight of your shipment into the final cost. While binding estimates or, better yet, binding not-to-exceed estimates put a limit on the amount you will pay for your move.
Don’t trust estimates over-the-phone. Insist on an in-person estimate to help prevent surprise costs come move day.
Bonus tip: Watch out for another “catch”; be sure you understand the difference between a mover and a broker – learn more here. Your best bet is to stick with a mover since you’ll know exactly who is handing your stuff, and because brokers aren’t covered by current consumer protection laws.
4. Put It On Paper
After selecting a mover, obtain hard copies of the following documents:
- Estimate: This document describes the services for which you’ll be charged.
- Bill of Lading: The receipt for your shipment and the contract for its transportation. You’ll receive this from your mover on moving day, if it doesn’t look right, talk to your mover before signing it.
- Inventory: The detailed list of your household goods showing the number and condition of each item.
Having these documents on hand will ensure if something does go wrong, your bases are covered.
5. Consolidate Belongings
Consider this your chance to rid your home of extra junk. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you’ve used the item in the last 3 months; if not, it’s time to purge! Most interstate movers charge based on weight, so, the less stuff you have the cheaper your move will be. Don’t know what to do with your unwanted belongings? Think about donating to a charitable organization or hosting a moving sale!
6. Pack Accordingly
The further you move, the more potholes you’re likely to encounter along the way. To ensure your stuff is safe and secure, use durable moving boxes and packing supplies. Many movers will insist on certain types of boxes since they’ll need to fit well into the truck and sustain a long haul. Make sure to check with your moving company on any requirements. Move day kits can save you a bunch of time and money and usually come in standard mover-approved sizes. Kits contain boxes, tape, packing paper, markers and box cutters. The best part? If you order online, your kit will arrive, at your door in 1-2 business days. Check one more thing off your to-do list and find a kit that fits your move here.
Bonus tip: Some items are far too dangerous to be put in your moving truck, especially for a long-distance move, check out the 5 things NOT to pack in your moving truck here.
7. Protect Your Move
Even with great movers, accidents happen with 1 out of 4 shipments. In the event of loss or damage to your property it’s important to know your mover’s liability. Most moving companies are only obligated to compensate 60 cents per pound, and this often excludes boxes you packed on your own. Think about this… if your 46″ television gets damaged, you’ll only receive $20! To give you peace of mind during your big move, check to see what your current insurance covers. If it’s not enough, look into 3rd party coverage.
8. Moving Day
Be present on pick-up day to watch and direct the movers as they load your belongings. Typically, this is when your inventory sheet will be filled out. Be aware of the condition of your items and DO NOT sign your inventory sheet until both you and your mover agree on the condition. After your truck is loaded, walk through your home to be sure nothing was forgotten. Last but not least, exchange numbers and any important information with the drivers!
9. Be Available
As soon as your mover hits the road, have your cell on you at all times. Interstate moves are often done on a large tractor-trailer with 5 or 6 other household goods shipments. In these cases, movers need flexibility, so you’ll more than likely be given a “delivery spread,” the timeframe within which your shipment will be delivered. When given a delivery spread, you’ll be contacted by your mover 24 hours before delivery day. Arrange travel plans to meet the movers at your new place. If you’re unable to be there, you could be charged extra to have your items stored.
10. Delivery Day
Make the unloading process as smooth as possible by following these steps on delivery day:
- Have your payment ready. Typically you’ll pay your mover on delivery, before your goods are unloaded.
- Use your inventory sheet to check all items were delivered, and in good condition. Don’t sign any documents until you’ve confirmed this.
- When finished, don’t forget to tip your mover for a job well done! Learn proper tipping etiquette here.
Good luck and don’t forget to come back and review your experience to help others have a happy move too!
Just like other home service companies, there are different types of movers and moving services available to tailor to your individual need and how much work you’re willing to put in! It’s easiest to start just thinking about what you actually want done for you.
STEP 1: Which of these things do you need help with?
- Provide a truck, load it, drive it, and unload it
- Load and/or unload a rented truck or portable storage container (pod)
- Pack stuff into boxes and crates
- Move items on-site (not moving to a new address)
Full Service Moving Companies:
If you answered “Yes” to #1, be confused no longer — you want a Full Service Moving Company. Depending on the move distance and the US state(s) involved in the move, there may be licensing requirements for a mover transporting household goods with their own truck (a “household goods carrier”).
If moving across state lines (interstate move), your full service mover must have an active USDOT license to move household goods between states. This government oversight in theory protects you, your belongings, and others on the road by making sure the mover meets minimum safety and quality standards.
If moving within the borders (intrastate) of any non-regulated state (Alaska, Arizona, DC, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Mississippi, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin), your full-service moving company does not need a license.
If moving from, to, or within a regulated state (all other states not listed above), your moving company must be licensed to move household goods by your state’s regulatory agency.
If you answered “No” to #1, you might be able to get away with hiring simple Moving Labor. These companies can help you pack your stuff, load/unload your rented truck or storage pod, move items around your house or to the garage, and they can even drive your rented vehicle without a special household goods license. These companies run the gamut from day laborers getting most of their business off Craigslist to well-established and well-rated companies that just happen to specialize in small moves.
Warning: Be careful when hiring Moving Labor. The lack of regulations also lessens their responsibility to perform a well-executed move with minimal damage and loss. Also, since many are not established businesses, they lack robust scheduling systems and may not be reliable or even show up when you need them the most — on moving day!
Portable Storage Container Movers
These companies (like PODS, UPack, and others) deliver a portable storage unit or pod to your home or pickup location. You then can load the container yourself on your own time or hire Moving Labor to do it for you. When you are ready, the Portable Storage Container Mover will pick up your container and move it to your new location, where again, you can unload it yourself or hire Moving Labor at your destination.
Some things to keep in mind regarding Portable Storage Container Movers:
Estimate your belongings: Make sure you have a large enough container for your move.
Where will you keep it? Make sure you have a legal place to park the container at origin and destination. For example, some tight urban areas or high rise buildings will not accommodate a container for more than a few hours.
If you don’t want to load or unload yourself, you may have to hire additional moving services. Moving is already a stressful time — you may not want to have to deal with additional companies to handle your actual move.
Specialized Moving Companies:
There are also movers that specialize. These are piano movers, safe movers (movers who have special equipment and skill in moving safes), art and antique movers, jacuzzi movers, pool table movers, and more. If you hire a Full Service Moving Company and own any of these items that also must be moved, make sure they are capable of handling them confidently. Otherwise, you may need a Specialized Moving Company to handle your special item.
Still confused? Hit us up through chat or at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you out.
Budgeting For Hired Muscle: How to estimate the cost of a pro move
Whether you’re on the fence about using your own muscle versus hired muscle for your move, it will cost you either way. It basically boils down to whether you choose to spend your time or your money.
If you’re short on time and manpower or just want to offset some of the tasks onto professional shoulders, then hiring a licensed, reputable and experienced mover sounds like your best option. Requesting free move estimates is the most reliable and accurate way to budget for your moving costs, and to shop around for the best options.
But if you want to gauge a ballpark quote before contacting movers, then it’s helpful to understand some of the basics. Most professional moving companies will estimate your moving cost on a combination of the following factors:
Weight (critical factor in a long distance move)
The longer your move and the heavier your shipment, the higher your move cost will be.
Let’s break down those factors into a simple formula for local (in-state moves less than 50 miles) and long distance (out of state moves).
Your Basic Local Move Formula
(Base hourly rate) X (# of movers) X (# of hours loading/unloading/transit) + (Gas/tolls) + (Packing services/materials)
Your Basic Long Distance Move Formula
(Weight) X (Rate based on shipment Weight and Distance) + (Packing services/materials) + (Shuttle Fee if your destination cannot accommodate a typical large long distance moving van) + (Optional full value protection of your shipment)
Here are a few very rough estimates to give you an idea on total costs.
Long Distance Moves
A cross-country move from Chicago to Denver (~ 1,000 miles) for a 4- bedroom house (~12,000 lbs. of stuff) could cost around $8,000.
Need a total change of scenery? Moving from Boston to Houston (~ 1,800 miles) for a 2-bedroom apartment (~ 4,000 lbs. of stuff) could cost around $5,000.
When hiring an interstate mover, be sure to request a binding estimate in writing. This will guarantee that the final price you pay when your shipment is delivered will not exceed the estimate, as long as you don’t add items not included in the original estimate.
Staying in the area? A local 4-bedroom size move from one Chicago neighborhood to another could cost around $2,000 (factoring average costs of $160/hour for four men and a large truck).
Hiring two men and a truck for a smaller move can range from $90 – $120 per hour depending on where you live. And if you just want labor help and don’t need a truck, you can expect to pay less than $100 per hour.
Keep in mind estimates can also be affected by your desired move date, so expect higher prices if you want to move in the summer or even on weekends, when demand can be at its peak.
And if you want your mover to pack up your belongings on top of hauling and unloading it it, this can be up to a quarter of the total cost of a full service move. According to an MSN Real Estate article on moving costs, two professional movers can pack up a two- to three-bedroom home in a day at a cost of $400 to $640 (at about $25 – $40 an hour without materials).
Remember, there’s no substitute for getting estimates from top rated movers. This will give you the most accurate quote, especially when you have an in-home assessment where the movers can go through your home and see all your belongings.
Give a kid an empty moving box and they can barely contain their excitement. It can be a fort, a robot or even a racecar…the possibilities are endless. But to us grown ups, empty moving boxes mean countless hours and the painful process of fitting our lives (and homes) into pieces of cardboard.
There’s no way around actually packing up your stuff. But here are our top home packing hacks to help you move like a boss.
7. Pack your dishes on their side
Pros know the best way to prevent chips and damage to your dinnerware is to pack them vertically on their side, not stacked on top of each other. Make sure you use plenty of wrap paper or bubble wrap in between each layer too for extra padding.
6. Put a little plastic wrap on your toiletries
Unscrew the caps of your shampoos, soaps, lotions and anything else that might spill during the move. Cover the opening with a piece of plastic wrap and then secure the caps on your bottles over the plastic. Only takes a second but can save you lots of extra cleanup!
5. Pack small hardware into bags and label for each piece of furniture
It’s hard enough taking apart your bed, dining table and any other large pieces of furniture to make it fit into the moving truck or in the doorway of your new home. Save yourself the hassle when it’s time to put it all back together by placing all hardware for each piece of furniture in individual Ziploc bags, then clearly labeling them. Keep all bags together so re-assembly is a breeze when you’re ready.
4. Color code your boxes and rooms to match
Use colored labels or tape to clearly mark the contents of each box for the room it’s designated for. Then make it easy for your movers to unload by labeling each door or entrance to the room to match the labels on the box (i.e. pink for kitchen, blue for living room etc.). Don’t forget to label on the sides, not tops of your boxes, so you can read them even when your boxes are stacked.
3. Secure contents in drawers with stretch plastic wrap
If you want to keep items in their respective drawers, simply wrap plastic wrap securely around it to make sure it stays in place. This works for portable organizers like silverware trays or securing dresser drawers from sliding in transit. No unpacking necessary, just peel and you’re ready to go.
2. Pack sturdy books and other small, sturdy items in a roll-away suitcase
Don’t worry about breaking your boxes that are overloaded with heavy hardcovers and your extensive DVD collection. Just put them in your suitcase and wheel it away.
1. Take a picture of your electronics before disconnecting
It only takes a minute or two to disconnect any cables and components for your TV and other electronics. But if you’re not sure how to put it all back together, it can cost you a frustratingly long time. Avoid this by taking a quick picture of the backs of your electronics before you disconnect them so you have a visual cheat sheet for where everything goes when it’s time to put it all back together.
Whether you are buying or selling a home, the right real estate agent makes the process much easier. If you are looking to hire a real estate agent, you’ll want to ask lots of questions to determine if the agent is the right one for your needs.
Here are some of the important ones to consider:
1. How many closings have you had in the last year?
You can phrase this question as it relates to your goals, whether buying or selling, but knowing how much recent experience a real estate agent has in your area will help you determine if he or she is the right one. Look for an agent who has had a significant number of successful sales in your area.
A real estate agent who is willing and able to provide a number of statistics about his or her success in the market is one that is confident in being able to help you. This is the agent you want on your side.
2. Are you working full-time?
You will do best with someone who is working full-time as a real estate agent. Many part-time agents do quite well, but they are not able to give you their full attention. Choose a full-time agent if you want to reach your real estate goals more quickly.
3. What aspects of my real estate transaction will you handle personally?
Many agents, particularly those who work in an agency or firm, will delegate some tasks to free their time for the more critical tasks. Real estate transactions can be maddeningly complex, and it’s not cost effective for them to handle every aspect themselves. However, you should know what parts are being delegated and what parts the agent is handling. Plus, the answer to this question will give you a clearer picture of the agent’s knowledge and expertise.
4. Do you think my goals are reasonable?
Before you talk to your agent, know what your specific real estate goals are. For example, if you are selling, know what you think you need to sell the house for. Then, ask the agent what he or she thinks you will be able to sell it for. This will give you a clear picture of your agent’s market knowledge, and it will also help you determine if your goals are reasonable.
If you are buying, tell the agent what your goals are. What type of house do you want, where do you want to live and what is your price range? Then, see if your agent thinks your goals are within reach.
An experienced real estate agent will be able to use current market data to help you consider your goals. They will know details that you can’t find on national home search sites. If they are bringing detailed market statistics to you to help you analyze your goals, then you’ve likely found a good agent.
5. May I see the comparative market analysis for homes for sale in my area?
If you are selling, the comparative market analysis will be an invaluable tool. This gives you details about the local market and what your home is likely worth. Not all homes have comparable properties that the realtor can share with you, but you should ask to see if they are available.
When the realtor presents the comps, use the opportunity to ask detailed questions. This will show you what the real estate agent knows about your local market conditions.
6. What is your plan for showing my home?
For sellers, the agent’s marketing plan is crucial. Know how the agent plans to show and market your home, and make sure that it includes the following:
- Online marketing
- Photos, photos and more photos, preferably taken professionally
- Open houses, at least for other agents
- The use of technology to help with the sale
- Home staging help
The more marketing techniques employed, the better your success will be, so spend some time on this question.
7. What is your availability?
If you are buying, find out when the agent is available to show you potential houses. Make sure that the availability is in line with your own. You don’t want to end up with an agent that can only show houses on days or times when you have to be working.
Whether you are buying or selling, you want the right agent at your side. Take the time to ask these detailed questions, and you can move forward with confidence that you have found the right one!
Guest post by Ken Susman, of OnlineSelfStorageDirectory.com. The Online Self Storage Directory makes it easy to research and reserve self-storage facilities anywhere in the United States.
In this hyper-partisan era, there are few things that everyone agrees on. However, one of those rare items of agreement is this: moving can be a real pain, and even more so when you’re moving to a new city. This won’t be news to regular readers of the MovingCompanyReviews.com blog. In fact, it’s right there in MCR’s mission: “we want to make it easy for you to find great movers.”
Finding good movers is a critical step to a successful move. But when people are relocating, there are many other issues to consider. If you’re thinking of renting a self-storage unit as one of your options, here are a few ways a self-storage unit can ease your move – and your mind – when it comes time to pack up and move.
Don’t buy yet! Rent first!
Often, when people are transferred and don’t have much time to find the right place, they choose to rent a house or apartment temporarily so they can take their time before committing themselves to a permanent home. This is something worth considering.
For instance, if you’re moving from Milwaukee to Los Angeles, you might want to spend a few months learning about the traffic patterns to and from your new job before locking yourself into a beautiful home that requires you to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic for an hour each way.
Some apartment complexes will even let you sign a six-month lease, especially if you’re going to be moving in during a slow time of year, like late fall. You will often pay a slight premium for the shorter lease, but it very well might be worth a few extra bucks for six months, and you may be able to negotiate a lower deposit or a waiver of the application fee.
One item that concerns people about renting an apartment, particularly if they’re moving from a house, is what to do with all of their stuff! This is where self-storage can come to the rescue (wearing an orange cape, of course). Assuming that you’ll be using your bedroom and living room sets, a couple of TVs, the majority of your kitchen utensils, and all of your clothing, you should have little trouble packing the rest into a five foot by ten foot (5 X 10) or a 10 X 10 unit. And many moving companies will make a stop at the storage facility and unload for you. Just make sure that you have the truck packed so those items are at the back and they don’t have to unload the whole thing!
Sell your home fast.
I learned the lesson well when I tried to lease my condo after my wife and I purchased a house. We spent countless hours cleaning and organizing the condo so it would be neat and tidy for prospective renters. Even still, it wasn’t until the condo was basically empty that people really started to show interest.
This is another time when storage can help. Renting a nearby storage locker can help relieve the pressure on your closets and basement.
Moving temporarily? Travel light.
As many of our military men and women know, not all moves are permanent. Maybe you’re being sent overseas for a year or two to set up a branch office, or will be out of town for several years doing a residency, or are joining the Peace Corps. In many of these cases, people know that they’ll be moving back when the experience ends.
For moves like these, it is probably easier not to take that antique dining room set and 65” 3D television. The solution, of course, is self-storage. One small-to-medium sized unit would do the trick.
But… are storage facilities safe?
This is the biggest concern many prospective renters have, and it’s an important one. Storage facilities sometimes have the reputation of being shady and unscrupulous operators. Whether or not that was ever true is a question for another day, but in today’s world, it’s simply false for the vast majority of facilities.
Most modern companies employ professional facilities managers who live on the property and are experts in handling storage-related issues. Additionally, they employ security companies to monitor the property 24 hours, and often require a PIN to open a gate before you can even get to the units. They are usually well-lit and well-maintained. All that’s left is for you to buy is a quality lock.
Modern self-storage facilities are a safe, reasonable solution to many of the problems that arise during complicated moves. They offer features and convenience to meet just about anyone’s needs.
The MovingCompanyReviews team has been working hard this past year to make the best online moving resource out there. But what happens when we use the site for our own move? Are we getting it right? Are there parts of the process we could do better? I recently put our site to the test with my own move, and learned some things along the way.